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For nurses and midwives looking for ways to connect with their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, online arts and crafts courses are one way to keep the mind active and sharp outside of the workplace.

However, with in-person gatherings remaining difficult for many across the country, especially those engaged in frontline work, alternative ways of socialising and engaging in hobbies can be challenging to find, especially 18-months into the pandemic.

The ANMJ has gathered five resources to help you re-engage with an interest in arts and crafts at home.

Online Courses: National Art School (NAS)

Founded nearly 180 years ago, the NSW-based National Art School is one of the country’s most well-known, boasting alumni such as Vivienne Binns, Brett and Wendy Whiteley, Ken Done and Mitch Cairns.

In response to COVID last year, NAS began offering short courses specifically designed for online classes, which means students can participate from home wherever that might be around Australia or the world.

Regardless of whether you are a budding artist or someone who wants to seriously develop their artistic practice in the hours between their shifts, the school offers various short courses that look at the history of art, skills development and creative practice.

YouTube: “Bob Ross — The Joy of Painting”

While the legacy of Bob Ross is under a bit of scrutiny due to a recent Netflix documentary that looks at the ownership of his extensive archive, nostalgia for the jovial TV painting instructor and his ability to parse a landscape in half an hour of TV time has never been higher.

The Bob Ross YouTube channel has millions of viewers and followers, but more significantly, for those who want to learn painting skills in a way that is decidedly more on-demand than most online classes, the archive of the entire series is available for you to consume immediately.

Podcast: Close-Knit

A podcast by creative Ani Lee, who speaks to a variety of international designers and craftspeople on engaging and unique ways of understanding the world through their work, Close-Knit offers plenty of food for thought for those who are more casually engaged.

Perfect for a long commute or a drive to work, the podcast, which is on a temporary hiatus due to the stresses of COVID-19, exposes listeners to various ways of crafting they hadn’t previously considered. A Patreon is also available if keen listeners are interested in financially supporting the podcast on an ongoing basis.

Online Courses: ClassBento

An online start-up that delivers a $1 from each booking fee to Dementia Australia, Class Bento was started by former employees of online fashion retailer The Iconic. The course hosts a variety of classes and events delivered by artists and craftspeople online, as well as other seminars by chefs and beauticians.

Designed to connect the public directly with local practitioners and small business owners, many courses are structured with delivery kits to have everything you need to participate full-heartedly in the class or skill you are learning.

Something Different? Chunky Move Contemporary Dance Classes

If you’re passionate about trying new things or looking for something physically active that isn’t a sporting activity, Melbourne dance company Chunky Move are running an array of online classes that cater to beginners and those who are more experienced at dancing.

While it may be a skill that might be unfamiliar to some, the classes offer a way to get movement in at home that may free up time for those living under curfews or outdoor exercise restrictions.

For more information on location-specific services that may be COVID-safe and accessible to you, please look at websites such as Craft Victoria or Craft NSW, or equivalent services in your state or territory.